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Pillar CEO Talks Roadmap

Pillar Data didn't quite meet expectations in its first year of shipping products, but CEO Mike Workman says the guy bankrolling the company understands its challenges better than most.

Pillar has 87 customers, a bit shy of the internal projections set when it finally got its Axiom 500 systems out the door last year -- after nearly four years and $150 million in funding. (See Pillar Leaves Post At Last.)

"I think we had higher expectations, which were not well founded," Workman said with a chuckle in recent interview with Byte and Switch. "The nice thing about being a startup is you're not burdened by the shackles of past success, because you don’t have any."

Actually, the burden of expectations surrounding Pillar comes from the resources Oracle founder Larry Ellison has poured into the startup. But while others are quick to point out how much of Ellison's money Pillar has spent, Workman says his boss is just as quick to notice how far the engineering team has come with its ambitious integrated NAS-SAN system.

Workman says he received no pressure to stray from the original product plans, even when that meant falling behind schedule. Even after shipping for nearly a year, Pillar's platform is a work in progress. So far, the Axiom 500 is SATA only. Workman expects systems with Fibre Channel support this summer, as well as 4-Gbit/s support and a midrange box that will include an iSCSI option.

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